(Smith-Pelly scores at around the 2:08 mark)
The 2010 NHL Entry Draft is quickly approaching, and, thus far, the Flames' first pick will be in the third round, 64th overall. I've decided to profile a few players whom the Flames could potentially select come June 25th-26th. Today's player is Mississauga St. Mike's Juniors left winger Devante Smith-Pelly. Ranked 76th by Central Scouting in their final rankings, he fell 9 spots from his mid-term ranking of 67th overall.
Junior Team: Mississauga St. Michael's Juniors
Weight: 180 lbs.
In his second season with the OHL's Mississauga St. Michael's Junior, Devante Smith-Pelly tied teammate Casey Cizikas for the team lead with 29 goals and 62 points (including 10PPG and 24 PPA) and was +27 during the regular season; he also led the team with 8 goals and 14 points in 16 post-season games. He also appeared in the CHL's Top Prospects game and the OHL's annual All-Star Classic. Smith-Pelly's game plan is simple, according to Central Scouting's OHL scout Chris Edwards: hard work [Flames/NHL.com]
"He's a solid kid and works hard. He gets involved and shows a willingness to battle. He's got a real good shot and can get it off quickly. He gets himself into the slot and has a real good wrist shot. He goes to the net and likes to bang in rebounds, and that's a big part of where you see him scoring his goals from, low slot."
Devante credits his parents for instilling in him a tireless work ethic [Yahoo!]:
"...They have preached work ethic, preached not taking anything for granted. That lesson was important, coming in as a pretty high OHL draft pick [8th overall in the 2008 OHL Bantam Draft], having to work my way off the fourth line and into a greater role in the lineup. Some kids would maybe take where they were picked for granted and kind of feel they were entitled to a certain amount of ice time.They preached just going in and working my hardest and that’s been the biggest influence in my career so far."
Smith-Pelly's coach, Dave Cameron, had this to say about his leading scorer:
"He's good down low, below the tops of the circles. He's got good offensive instincts, he protects the puck well, has good vision, he's a good skater. The part of his game he needs to pick up is his power-forward mentality."
"He's got everything going for him. It's just a matter now of figuring out what kind of player he's going to be and what kind of player he has to be to get to the next level. If he continues the upward climb, things will be good."
The "power forward mentality" Cameron is referring to stems from none other than Smith-Pelly himself, who strives to emulate Jarome Iginla, a player he greatly admires. He acknowledges that demonstrating and merging an aptitude in the physical side of the game as well as offensive skill is his biggest strength, but knows that he still needs to improve upon his consistency in order to make an impact at the next level:
"Combining the physical part of the game as well as the offensive aspect. I get most of my offence by being a bang-and-crash guy, finishing my checks, working the cycle. Running a guy over, then contributing with the offence, I’d say that is my biggest asset."
"...At the junior level, since it’s a younger group of guys, consistency is always going to be a challenge. It’s something every junior has to work on if they want to be a NHL regular. Being on the [2011 MasterCard Memorial Cup] host team is going to be good in terms of that. Every game is going to be a pressure game."
A physical forward with a nose for the net, Smith-Pelly seems like the ideal Sutter draft pick, although his size is a may be little closer to Nigel Dawes than Jarome Iginla. With an abundance of smaller skilled players who put up better numbers than Smith-Pelly this past season and could potentially still be available when the Flames pick at #64 on Saturday, I wouldn't be surprised if a guy like Smith-Pelly fell to them at #73, but I suppose it depends on the needs of the teams picking immediately before and after Calgary, and what the organization has deemed its own needs and wants after opting to go for skill over size in their third round pick last June with Ryan Howse.